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Drone Certification: a Step-by-step Guide to FAA Part 107 for U.S. Commercial Drone Pilots

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Drone Certification of  FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) is a national authority of the United States and the authority has powers to handle all aspect of civil aviation.

Its activities include the management of air traffic, the establishment and operation of airports in the USA, the certification of personnel and commercial aircraft etc. The federal aviation act of 1958 transferred air safety regulation from the civil aeronautics board to the FAA.

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This agency was established 58 years ago on August 23, 1958. Its headquater is in 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20591. The administrator of this agency is Michael Huerta. There are some rules and regulations of this agency for flying a drone.

The Rules for Operating Drone & Getting Drone Certification

On June 21st in year 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finalized a new regulatory framework for the unmanned aerial system.

In the part 107, all of the new rules and regulations create a new certification process for drone, which includes commercial flight operations and the majority of low risk.

According to part 107, to get Drone Certification a commercial drone operations are required to:

  • You have to pass an initial aeronautical test.
  • You have to obtain a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
  • Be vetted by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration)
  • You have to pass recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
  • You have to at least 16 years old otherwise you will not selected.
  • If you have met an accident then report to the FAA within 10 days and that results in injury or property damage over $500
  • You have to conduct a pre-flight inspection for ensuring that the UAS is safe for the operation.

Regulations for running a Drone

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given some rules for running a drone and getting a Drone Certification which depends on why you want to fly. Some people want to fly a drone for fun and some other fly for work.

The agency has made rules for both of them. If you want to fly a drone for fun then no need to be a certified drone pilot.

You don’t need the part 107 and the section 333 exemption or other kind of UAV certification. You will have to just follow the safety guidelines which are regulations of the FAA. The rules are given below:

  • Pilot requirements: There are no pilot requirements.
  • Aircraft requirements: The aircraft must be registered if it is over 0.55 Ibs.
  • Location requirements: The location should be 5 miles from the airports without previous notification to air traffic control tower and the airport.
  • Operating rules: Must always yield right of way to manned aircraft. You must have to keep the aircraft in visual line of sight. Must fly in the daylight and fly must fly under 400 feet.The UAS must be under 55 Ibs. You must have to follow all community based safety guidelines to achieve Drone Certification. Don’t fly in the national parks. Don’t forget to notify the airport authority and air traffic control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport area.
  • Example applications: Educational or recreational flying only.
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If you want to fly a drone for work then you have to follow the given rules of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

Regulations of FAA

  • Pilot requirements: You must have a “remote pilot airman certificate”. You must be 16 years old and have to pass TSA vetting.
  • Aircraft requirements: The aircraft must be less than 55 Ibs and should be registered if it is over 0.55 Ibs. Don’t forget to pre-flight check for ensuring UAS is in condition for the safe operation.
  • Location requirements: Class G airspace.
  • Operating rules: You must have to keep the aircraft in visual line of sight. Must fly under 400 feet and fly during the day. You must fly at or below 100 mph. You should not fly over people and not fly from a moving vehicle.
  • Example applications: Flying for commercial use.

Information About the Drone Test

You can take the part 107 written drone test whenever you are ready to get certified, because it’s live. Let’s see some point of what drone pilot test looks like:

  1. The question type of the test is an objective I mean multiple choice.
  2. There will be 60 questions and each questions has three single responses (A, B and C).
  3. Each question is independent from other question, a correct response to one question depends upon the correct response to another question.
  4. There would be some questions which may require visual references, like maps or charts of airspace.
  5. You have to score minimum 70% number, I mean you will need to get at least 42 questions right.
  6. You have to complete your test within two hours because you will get two hours for completing the test.

If you have already a section 333 exemption of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), then you can continue your operation under its all provisions throughout the 24 month licencing window. Whether you would like to go through part 107 separately then you can choose it and which depends on your kind of operations.

Supposing, you have already applied for the section 333 exemption and still waiting, then I think you are one of thousand of floks in the FAA’s backlog.

Certified Companies

Most of the certified pilots are living in the United States:

  • The common commercial applications is real estate and flim industry.
  • Florida and California both of the states are with the most number of certified drone pilots.
  • From the certificate holders a majority indicate that the pilot is operating a DJI products.

Under traditional section 333 exemption you need to have a manned aircraft pilot license. Under the part 107 you don’t need to have a pilot license. Any company that holds a section 333 exemption does not necessary to be a licence bearing pilot.

But the person who actually fly the drone must have a licence bearing pilot. The licenced pilot can be a independent contractor or company employee as long as the pilot satisfies or follows the qualifications in the section 333 exemption guidelines.

Don’t worry about medical exam because under section 333 examption or part 107 of the rules of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) there is no medical exam recuires to operate a drone. You can use a government issued I.D for a medical flight physical.

COST FOR GIVING THE TEST

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For giving a commercial UAS registration number, the FAA charges only $5. Under the part 107, the pilots of drone requires to pass an Aeronautical knowledge examination.

The cost to take this exam is $150 at any licence bearing testing center. Without these costs there are no high costing for your drone pilot certificate from the FAA. But, if you are thinking about building a drone business, you can try drone liability insurance.

After passing the examination, you will have to wait up to 48 hours to apply for remote pilot certificate by using the online IACRA system of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

After sending your application you will go through an automatic TSA security vetting, then they assume you that you have passed that and then you will receive a electronic remote pilot certificate.

At last I want to say for flying a drone or a aircraft you must have to follow all of the regulations of FAA. Because by following the rules and regulations you can fly safely in the sky by achieving Drone Certification.

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